By Zoe Moga, TIWP Student
She had always loved the smell of soil. As a little girl, her father would take her to the nursery for hours as he planned out his garden and bought plants. There she would take in the aroma of dirt. It’s deep, earthy scent full of floral and sweet and resinous undernotes. As she got older, she was given a little corner in the backyard to plant her flowers. Her little hands would caress the soil gently, moving it to bury strawberry seeds and place little geranium bushes. Sometimes, she would lay in that small patch, careful to not smother her plants, and just stare up at the sky. She would bask in the warm spring sun and let herself absorb into the earth. Often, she would run back into her house covered in dust and soil. Her mother would scold her for that, “You’re leaving footprints on the rug,” she would say. “Let me clean you off,” she would say. But the girl loved the feeling of dust in her hair and dirt clinging to her feet. Being clean and prim and proper felt unnatural as she was one with the earth. She didn’t want her mother to scrub her skin clean and pull her hair back in a respectable braid; for the soil that speckled her shoulders and hands mirrored the freckles that danced across her nose. And the flowers and leaves that fell into her lovely curls looked like vines climbing up a stone wall. As she got older, her little corner of the garden grew with her. Apricot and cherry trees sitting up against the old wooden fence. Patches of lamb’s-ears brushing the long lavender sprigs. For her, it became a secret paradise. A place she would tend to herself, where it was possible to ignore everything else going on in the world. It was lovely and delicate and beautiful beyond words. For a stranger, the only way to understand it was to experience it. They could feel the beginnings of the garden’s history as the soil run through their hands. They could see its present, how far it’s come, with the rainbow of colors that bloomed and grew over its years of expansion. They could hear the bugs and birds and bees rustling in bushes and trees, creating an environment that relies on nature alone. They could smell the plants and dirt; the lemon tree and rosemary bush and zinnias. A symphony of aromas that melts seamlessly into the atmosphere.